LNCT Member Newsletter September 2020

LNCT Updates

Three Priorities for Strengthening Our Network

Since its launch, LNCT has continuously examined its approach to engaging and supporting country members to respond to transition-related challenges. Earlier this year, and prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) commissioned an external assessment of LNCT to identify core strengths, challenges, and future opportunities. The assessment produced two key recommendations: 1) conduct a strategic planning process to clearly define the Network’s scope and focus; and, 2) strengthen its virtual support to transitioning countries. In this blog, we outline our three priorities for implementing the assessment recommendations to maximize LNCT’s effectiveness during the pandemic and beyond.

Materials from Two Recent LNCT Webinars Now Available Online
  • In collaboration with Gavi, LNCT held a webinar on August 11 focused around policy changes that have been made due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as updates for Gavi’s new five-year strategy (Gavi 5.0).
  • On September 17, LNCT held a joint webinar with the Vaccine Economics Research for Sustainability & Equity (VERSE) Project where they presented an innovative toolkit that is under development to measure and track equity of immunization. If you would like to provide suggestions that can influence the toolkit development or would be interested in piloting the tool, reach out to Principal Investigator, Bryan Patenaude, at bpatena1@jhu.edu.

Can Social Media Monitoring Lead to Improved Perceptions about Immunization? 
The recent COVID-19 crisis has shown how social media can be used successfully for community engagement and emotional support, as well as for providing the latest global evidence. Yet, we also see how it can be used as a tool to spread unverified rumors and misinformation about COVID-19, fueling fear around a vaccine that is still under development. Read our new blog to find out how Armenia has used social media monitoring to address myths and rumors surrounding vaccines. 

Highlights from our Partners

Gavi Launches Innovation Catalog with Interventions for Maintaining, Restoring, and Strengthening Immunization Services
To support Gavi-eligible countries as they put in place interventions to maintain, restore, and strengthen their immunization services and catch up missed children, Gavi has prepared a catalog of 21 innovations that countries could consider, depending on their specific needs and context. It includes innovations that address COVID-19 related needs such as preparing frontline health workers for the “new normal” of immunization and ensuring effective cold chain and logistics post pandemic. The featured innovations have been tested in developing country settings, have reached a certain level of maturity, and would have a reasonable timeline to be implemented in light of the pandemic.

Enroll in Upcoming Vaccine Economics Online Course
The Teaching Vaccine Economics Everywhere (TVEE) training workshop will now be available online and is open to participants free-of-charge. Health economists from universities around the world have developed an online course to strengthen skills related to economics and financing of national immunization programs and to improve the sustainability of vaccine delivery in low and middle-income countries. The experts represent the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Mahidol University, University of Ouagadougou, WITS School of Public Health, Indian Institute of Hospital Management Research (IIHMR) University, Aga Khan University, and Makerere University.

The course, to be conducted from October 17–December 13, 2020, is designed for professionals and academics who are involved in the planning and implementation of immunization programs and projects. The students will learn the basics of vaccine economics, methodology, and applications of different types of costing and economic evaluation studies, and its relevance to decision-making and policy implementation.
Students also have the option to choose between Executive or Academic versions of the course. The Executive module is for those that are interested in learning about the application of vaccine economics in the field and policy and consists of 11 sessions. The Academic module, which consists of 17 sessions, allows the participants to learn in detail about the theory of vaccine economics as well as it’s applications.
Registration: Please register for the course here.

For more information about the program, please contact Shreena Malaviya at shreena.malaviya@jhu.edu.

DoVE Launches New Return on Investment (ROI) Publication for Vaccines
The Decade of Vaccine Economics (DoVE) project, implemented by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC), has published their return-on-investment (ROI) for vaccines preventing 10 infectious diseases in 73 countries that have received support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
Some of the key study findings from their publication include:

  • Between 2021 and 2030, vaccine programs in 73 low- and middle- income countries will prevent over $782 billion in costs associated with diseases.
  • Using the cost-of-illness (COI) model showed a US$ 21 return on a US$ 1 investment, factoring in costs averted from treatment costs, transportation costs, lost caregiver wages and productivity losses.
  • Using a value of statistical life approach that captures benefits beyond health system and caregiver costs averted, the return on investment in vaccine programs is estimated to be US$54 per $1 spent.

Materials from Sabin’s Virtual Discussion on Vaccine Acceptance in the Context of COVID-19
Sabin’s Vaccine Institute’s Vaccine Acceptance and Demand program and Boost Community recently hosted a virtual discussion that centered around the global issue of vaccination acceptance in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the unique challenges presented to immunization professionals. You can review a recording of the session and copy of the presentation on the Boost platform here. Please visit Boost’s online calendar of events for more webinars on this topic!

Boost Network Launches New Learning Group for Immunization Program Supervisors
Boost, together with immunization experts and partners, created a new learning group, Supporting Supervisors during COVID-19, to help address the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The learning group will offer a variety of ways to interact and topics will focus on technical aspects of immunization that are impacted by COVID-19, such as vaccine demand and missed opportunities for vaccination.

Explore the New VIEW-hub Vaccine Data Visualization Site
Vaccine Information and Epidemiology Window, known as VIEW-hub, is a publicly accessible interactive platform to visualize real-time information on vaccine use, product type, coverage levels, impact assessments, and disease burden estimates that was recently relaunched to include a new look and features for data visualization. It can be utilized to track progress and strategize ways to accelerate and optimize vaccine implementation.

Materials from VPPN’s Knowledge Sharing Session on Dose Per Container: The Effects of Switching to 5-dose Vials on Vaccine Procurement
UNICEF’s Vaccine Procurement Practitioner’s Network recently held a knowledge sharing session that examined the comparative effects of switching from 10 to 5-dose vials of MR vaccine on vaccine coverage, wastage, dropouts, session size and frequency, storage and distribution and how this applies to other vaccines. The session featured first-hand country experiences. The session recording and other materials can be found on VPPN’s TechNet page here (note: you must be logged in to your TechNet account).

Featured Resources

The Cost of Routine Immunization Outreach in the Context of COVID-19: Estimates from Tanzania and Indonesia
ThinkWell recently published an analysis on the additional costs of conducting immunization outreach with safety modifications due to COVID-19. Based on data from costing studies done in Tanzania and Indonesia, they found that that the cost of delivering immunization through outreach could increase between 20-129% depending on how the outreach strategies would be adapted.

Two New WHO Resources on Catch-up Vaccination Strategies Will Help Close Immunization Gaps caused by COVID-19
WHO has developed new guidance to assist national immunization programs to establish or refine a catch-up vaccination strategy, as an essential component of the routine immunization program in the context of COVID-19 and other catastrophic disruptions.

Hesitant or Not? A Global Survey of Potential Acceptance of a COVID-19 Vaccine
recent study shows that the willingness to vaccinate against COVID-19 is insufficient in 19 countries that were surveyed – highlighting the need for targeted interventions to increase public acceptance of a forthcoming COVID-19 vaccine.

Assessing the Incremental Costs and Savings of Introducing Electronic Immunization Registries and Stock Management Systems: Evidence from the Better Immunization Data Initiative in Tanzania and Zambia
A new research article published in The Pan African Medical Journal found that the introduction of electronic immunization registries and stock management systems through the BID Initiative was estimated to result in potential time savings in Tanzania and Zambia. Health worker time was the most impacted by the interventions, suggesting that time savings gained could be utilized for patient care.

Looking Ahead

Upcoming LNCT Webinar to Highlight Nigeria’s Experience with Engagement of the Private Sector
LNCT is planning a webinar on Nigeria’s engagement of the private sector to support immunization. Nigeria’s experience with the private sector demonstrates the range of private sector actors that can be engaged and the many different ways in which the private sector can support the national immunization program to improve outcomes. Please keep a look out for an invite to register for this webinar in the near future!

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